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Older motorcyclists experience increase in fatal accidents

Motorcycle drivers always must be alert on the road as they face a number of hazards.

Such perils include the fact that they can be less visible while driving and the possibility of encountering distracted or irresponsible automobile drivers out on the roads. Some particularly significant safety concerns can come up for older motorcyclists. In 2016, motorcyclists age 60 and older died at a higher rate than other motorcycle riders.

Deaths climbed 21.5 percent in year

While motorcycle fatalities rose just more than 5 percent from 2015 to 2016, deaths of baby boomers 60 and older climbed 21.5 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In the past decade, fatal crashes involving motorcyclists 65 and older rose 20 percent. Statistics for other age groups showed a decline of 1 percent (for ages 45-65) and 27 percent (for ages 16-24).

It seems that a number of baby boomers are returning to cycling upon retirement or once they've become empty-nesters.

But they may need to be careful. The American Automobile Association (AAA) cited NHTSA statistics showing that injuries sustained by motorcycle riders 60 and older quadrupled to 8,000 between 1998 and 2007.

Safety tips

Here are some tips for older motorcycle riders:

  • Drive defensively.
  • Enroll in a safety course. If older riders haven't been on a bike on a regular basis in recent times, there is a chance their skills may have eroded and may benefit from a refresher. Today's motorcycles are typically bigger and faster compared with the bikes from the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Be vigilant about physical activity. Being in shape can help riders with handling bigger motorcycles.
  • Wear protective gear, including a helmet, to protect your body. Cover your arms and legs by wearing leather or heavy denim. Boots and shoes should cover your ankles, and gloves will protect your hands.
  • Wear bright clothing with reflective material so you will be more visible to other drivers.

You don't want to become another statistic. Be on the alert, prepared and protect yourself. Then, enjoy the ride on the open roads. 

Now, sometimes, even with being very vigilant, older motorcyclists are still subjected to accidents. Victims of motorcycle crashes may want to seek guidance on their legal options.

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